“Missold your degree? Didn’t graduate with first class honours? Can’t secure your dream job? Call UniversityLawyers4U NOW!”
I haven’t yet seen an advert like this on the back of a bus, but how long it will be until I do?
At some point the PPI industry will need to diversify its interests, to find a new gravy train to hitch its engine to. The HE sector looks ripe for the picking and the business model looks attractively similar. Even the “don’t worry if you can’t remember studying at university” line seems appropriate for a few of the students I’ve taught.
The HE picture is a complex one (especially, I’d argue, for those of us engaged in widening participation) and I won’t try to unpack it here. But, as with PPI, the success of university-focussed claims seems to hinge on students being the consumer of HE’s product.
I’ve already witnessed the panic surrounding the potential impact of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) advice in my little corner of the HE sector. I’m all for students receiving what they signed up for, but I’ve also seen how it can straightjacket delivery because a proposed change (for the better, in my opinon) wasn’t in the menu prospectus shown to potential diners students before they entered the restaurant university.
But, on a more troubling note, a friend recently told me about an academic appeal where a student hadn’t received the first class grade that they felt entitled to. That they felt they had paid for. Enter the Argosification of HE. Browse the catalogue. Pay at the till. Wait for three years. Go to collection point A for your degree. Return for a refund if not as expected.
Or, in the case of a degree, call the lawyers to see if you can claim for the course fees, emotional trauma and lost earning potential. The consumer’s bad experience has to be somebody else’s fault, after all…